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History: The history of this tiny shrine will read like a movie script. The tiny hamlet - Kovalam is 70 km from the Madras Fort. Somewhere around 1780, Fr.Carmelita felt the need of a Church here in this tiny fishermen hamlet. Before the church was completed, the good Father passed away. A Portuguese merchant - John D'Monte, settled near the San Thome - Shrine of Saint Thomas, disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ, close to the Bay of Bengal Shore. He with his wife, Mary Bilderbeck and only son Christopher D' Monte led an uneventful life until the time his son Christopher died at a tender age of 22 on his way to meet his parents from an educational sojourn in Germany. The D'Monte family was devastated and Mary Bilderbeck took the brunt and fell dangerously ill both physically as well as psychologically. She wandered off near the long Bay of Bengal Shore in despair.
John went in search of her.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to John. The Marian apparition told him - if he could complete the Church left half complete in the Kovalam, Our Lady would cure his wife. John as was instructed, built this small but beautiful Church. And his wife was cured of her ailments as promised by Our Lady. John named this Church as 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' because of the initial efforts of Father Carmelita and the Marian Apparition.
Soon John became so successful in his business venture that he had become a multi millionaire. He bequeathed all his properties to the Madras- Mylapore Archdiocese. Some of his estates were later sold by the Archdiocese to outsiders. D'Monte Colony and D'Monte Kuppam were properties of John D'Monte. D'Monte Kuppam later became Dooming Kuppam in Tamil. Some Tamil horror movies heaped calumny on this kind hearted man without reading his history.
John and his family were interned in the Church he had built after his death in 6-5-1821. His epitaph reads "Possessed of ample fortune, the reward of diligence and integrity in commercial pursuits; he adorned the prosperity with which providence blessed him by humility, moderation and active though unostentatious benevolence; while his heart and hand were alike open to the cries of genuine distress or the calls of public utility without respect to differences of religion or nation. He strikingly exemplified the injunction of the Lord Jesus Christ - When Thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what the right hand doth".
The Church in all these 200 years has not grown much. This Covelong shrine has been raised to the status of a diocesan Shrine in 2013. A belfry was constructed with a 270 kg Bell sourced from Poland in the year 2015. The shrine has dedicated altar to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in glass enclosures. The front of the shrine is typical of the Portuguese architecture of the middle ages. You can see similar Church architecture in the Luz Church.
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
6 : 30 AM (Tamil)
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday
6 : 30 PM (Tamil)
Sunday - 6 : 45 AM (Tamil)
11 : 30 AM (English
If you want a quiet conversation with your God through Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a visit to this shrine is all that is needed. To reduce searching for directions, follow the GPS here:
GPSLatitude - 12 47 34.880001 (12.793022) N
GPSLongitude - 80 14 53.080002 (80.248078) E
GPSAltitudeRef - Sea level
GPSAltitude - 7.41 m
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